Michele Mally: "My Klimt & Schiele, an intense and excruciating story that tells the man of the twentieth century" – Rome
The recital of good society, made of stolen kisses behind wives and husbands, scams and bets witness a new role of the woman who strips her corsets to emerge in all its bewitching, lascivious femininity. This is where the Viennese Secession the avant-garde movement that first interpreted the malaise and uneasiness of its time, began to tell the story of the twentieth century man. And it is here that one hundred years ago his two most illustrious representatives died, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Michele Mally wanted this story to come to the big screen and that is why he proposed to Didi Gnocchi, the sole director of 3D Production, to tell it. Thus, directed by Mally, was born Klimt & Schiele. Eros and Psyche the latest production signed 3D Productions and Nexo Digital with the support of Intesa Sanpaolo in theaters on 22, 23 and 24 October .
How did the idea of a "total" documentary come about, in which the plots of art intertwine with those of architecture, music and dance in the Vienna of time?
"The occasion was the centenary of the death of the two artists, as well as of designer Koloman Moser and architect Otto Wagner, which took place in a few months in 1918. Their Vienna, that extraordinary city that for thirty years had been the creative engine of the Western world, that Vienna caressed from the waltzes of Johann Strauss and redesigned by the capitalist bourgeoisie, it went off as if in an instant, with the end of the First World War. In the days when Egon Schiele dies, the Austro-Hungarian empire also dissolves. It is the end of an era, it is the true beginning of the new century. This is why with Arianna Marelli, who wrote this story with me, we decided to start the film just remembering that night, October 31st, when the artist goes out ».
The two leading scholars of Klimt and Schiele, Alfred Weidinger, now director of the Leipzig Museum, and Jane Kallir, author of numerous essays on the artists of the Vienna Secession, will be explaining what the two visionary artists have in common.  How does the documentary bring the explosive revolutionary force to life on the big screen?
«Klimt's works have become a contemporary icon. They are found on umbrellas, fans, notebooks, socks, saucers. We tried to restore their original revolutionary force – a very difficult challenge – telling the Vienna of that period – Catholic, right-thinking, conservative – and analyzing in detail some of the artist's works, from the "Judith" to the "Beethoven Frieze", where no detail has purely aesthetic value. Approaching with our cameras we tried to explain, for example, the hidden meaning of that "ornament" so full of symbolic meanings ».
And Schiele? What about this artist's documentary aims more to highlight?
"Resume his twisted and exaggerated bodies or his self-portraits always suffered, it was for us how to immerse themselves in the origin of today and the problems of our day. For the first time a painter exposed the self, in an unprecedented exercise of self-analysis, going to reveal the darker side of the soul, but at the same time strongly believing in the thaumaturgical power of art. Schiele's expressionism seems decades away from the first Klimt's Jugenstil, while he is a direct son. The empathy provoked in the spectator by a nude of the master is the premise of the student's anguishing and perfect strength. That force has left us breathless throughout the entire production of the film ".
Eroticism is the common thread that runs through the entire history set in the right-thinking Vienna where sex is feared and controlled.
« I am the years of Freud and Schnitzler. The motions of the unconscious are overwhelmingly light. Erotic drives, as well as death drives, become abscesses and tidbits of behavior, life choices, repressed desires and social prohibitions. The grand theater of Viennese life becomes the theater of dreams, lies, desires. Sexuality becomes subtext in music (just think of the "Salomè" by Richard Strauss or the "transfigured Nights" by Schoenberg), it is a protagonist in literature and, obviously, in the newborn psychoanalysis. In the film this passage is described by the Nobel Prize winner for medicine, Eric Kandel, who in his book, "The Age of Insight" has enlightened us on the significance of the erotic charge of the works of Klimt and Schiele. The English actress Lily Cole reads excerpts from "Miss Else" by Schnitzler or from that "Diaries of a young Viennese girl", loved by Freud, mirror of the upsets and sexual discoveries of a young girl of the time ".
are connections between the society of the time and that of today?
«The overwhelming presence of Eros and the irrational world, the birth of a new awareness of the role of women and even gender uncertainties, were surprising connections».
The film is polyphonic and harmoniously sews art, psychoanalysis, medicine, music and dance, reflecting the cultural ferment of Vienna in those years. Was it difficult to direct this chorus to more voices?
"Putting together Mahler and Klimt, Freud and the young Schoenberg, Gerstl and Schnitzler was not so complex: they were so many sides of the same coin, all protagonists of a hub of history and of the culture that has the miraculous. In a cafe you could meet Freud as Fritz Lang, the Wittgenstein child like Karl Kraus. Many of those that I could define my masters frequented the same salons, as well as many of them rest in the cemetery of the city. We brought a bunch of carnations, as we walked through the graves of Johannes Brahms and Johann Strauss, Beethoven and Alfred Loos, but soon the flowers are finished, long before paying tribute to all those men who have deviated the course of the our story. The real difficulty was rather not to be able to insert, except for hints, for duration limits, the stories of Stefan Zweig, Hugo Wolf, Oscar Kokoshka, Josef Roth, Alma Mahler, Hermann Bahr, Hugo von Hoffmansthal. Certainly not minor authors. I hope that none of them has anything wrong with it. "
What is it that links the different levels of the narrative?
" I think the glue is in the music, all Viennese: from Mozart to Schubert, from waltzes to Mahler, until today, with the extraordinary accordion by Christian Bakanic. The film accompanies the spectator among prestigious museums in Vienna. "
What works will we see on the big screen?
" On the occasion of the centenary of the death of the four artists, all the great museums in Vienna have given them new productions. All the great masterpieces of Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser are on display at the Leopold. At the Kunsthistorisches Museum we were fascinated by Klimt's paintings on the ceiling of the grand staircase of the Museum and the "Nuda Veritas". At Belvedere we spent a long time on Schiele's "Death and the Girl", anxious testimony to the artist's separation from his muse and lover Wally Neuzil. At the Wien Museum the Pallas Athena of Klimt and the portrait of Emilie Flöge allowed us to tell the story of the birth of the Secession on the one hand and a great Platonic love on the other. Schröder, director of the Albertina, has shown us in exclusive a dozen works of Schiele graphics absolutely extraordinary, testimony of the days spent in prison by the artist. "
What are the other places in history?
« There is Vienna with its many faces, from sumptuous dances in the Hofburg palace to the workshops where the know-how of the Wiener Werkstatte is handed down, from the banks of the Danube to the Kahlenberg hill. And then there is Lake Attersee where Klimt has painted his landscapes. And finally Neulenbach, the country where Schiele was arrested, where he can still visit the cell in which he was imprisoned, made immortal by his drawings. "
• Klimt e Schiele: icons in the mirror
• Egon Schiele: 128 years and does not show them. Word of Jane Kallir